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Author Topic: 78' Pinto 2.3 Timing issues  (Read 2883 times)

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Offline flathead4

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78' Pinto 2.3 Timing issues
« on: May 27, 2014, 09:33:50 AM »
Hi, new to the forum here and seeking a little help. I bought a 78' pinto last week from a family friend that has been sitting dormant in a garage for the past 30 years. 32,000 miles. The story goes that in the early 80's the car wiped a few lobes on the cam off, the cam was then replaced, and the car was driven for a few more years until the cam supposedly went bad again, they never took anything apart or diagnosed it thoroughly because it was doing the same thing it had previously (spitting, popping through the carb. ect.) So yesterday I spent the day working on it, pulled the valve cover and the cam looks fine, no apparent scarring that would show signs of a bad cam. Checked the timing belt, everything was lined up correctly. (I did replace it just to be on the safe since I have seen them stretch) I oiled the cylinder walls and rotated the engine several times before attempting a start. With a fresh battery I got the car spinning over, when the gas pedal is pumped, the car would try to fire, and kick back. (almost like it was trying to run backwards, which would be timing) After a few more attempts I got the car running, spitting and popping out the carb. (sounded like someone was making popcorn.) I rechecked my timing and everything looks good, I lined the the crows foot with cylinder number 1 when I changed the belt. A compression test shows 135+ across the board. Any help would be appreciated, as Im a little baffled at this point.

Offline DBSS1234

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Re: 78' Pinto 2.3 Timing issues
« Reply #1 on: May 27, 2014, 11:32:27 AM »
Verify that the timing is not 180 off. Bring number one piston to top dead center of the compression stroke. I hold a finger over (NOT IN!!) the spark plug hole and when the compression is blowing out the hole you are on the compression stroke. Then I turn the engine by hand with a wrench on the lower pulley bolt and using a short stick find when the piston is at the top of it's travel. Your rotor should now be pointing at the terminal for the number on spark plug wire. If not, the distributor is not installed correctly. Remove it and reinstall correctly.

Offline amc49

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Re: 78' Pinto 2.3 Timing issues
« Reply #2 on: May 27, 2014, 02:39:01 PM »
Old school and fraught with mistake possibilities. Problem is, when slightly bumping starter with finger over hole VERY easy to bump past to get to the wrong mark again. Turn crank by hand the whole time, it will still try to force your finger off with compression and you can avoid that issue. OR, valve cover off, rotate motor in direction of normal travel and watching #1 intake open and then close, when it closes then carry crank around to the next TDC and that is right.

Don't discount the possibility of someone running the car bad for a while with the original lobe not working and then unburned/half burned crap stuffs the exhaust pipe up to plug it solid, that would do it as well. I've seen examples where someone ran car for a year plus, some just don't know when to stop. I unclogged a small block Chevy once that had all four exhausts plugged on one side once, the guy complained 'it was slightly missing', yeah I bet. All he wanted was new plugs. That one cost him an entire engine when he destroyed it from lobe material tearing up everything. When engine starts popping back through carb on one cylinder you are supposed to listen, not doing so often costs you the engine.

Wet fouled spark plugs will do it as well even if new 5 minutes ago. You may have to pull them and soak in like acetone or alcohol to bring them back. Oiling the walls could easily do that although a good idea.

Possibly a bad ignition module as well. They'll test it for free at the parts store. Timing gets set with vacuum line off advance and plugged.

The problem is slow or messed up burn speed or burned stuff cannot get out the pipe, either blows back through carb.

Offline Pinto5.0

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Re: 78' Pinto 2.3 Timing issues
« Reply #3 on: May 29, 2014, 08:25:49 AM »
It could be bad lifters rather than a wiped cam.
 
Check your firing order at the cap & make sure they're going the correct direction.
 
 
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Offline amc49

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Re: 78' Pinto 2.3 Timing issues
« Reply #4 on: May 29, 2014, 09:34:18 PM »
I would think that almost impossible. The lifters on these can be reused over and over, I've used same set in more than one motor, they last much longer than say V8 ones do. I simply pull them apart, clean the inside and reuse them again, they always pump up properly and stay that way provided the stock weak single spring used. I haven't replaced a set in 3 motors.

If lifter then the ticking (too loose) or valve held open and no compression (too tight).

Offline Clydesdale80

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Re: 78' Pinto 2.3 Timing issues
« Reply #5 on: May 30, 2014, 09:51:35 AM »
if left to set for a long time, the lifters can lock in whatever position they had been in.  then when you finally start the motor its noisy and beats the crap out of the cam lobes.  Both lobes for cylinder #4 of my 2.3 died this way.
Bought a 1978 hatchback to be my first car.

Offline Pinto5.0

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Re: 78' Pinto 2.3 Timing issues
« Reply #6 on: May 30, 2014, 12:07:05 PM »
if left to set for a long time, the lifters can lock in whatever position they had been in.  then when you finally start the motor its noisy and beats the crap out of the cam lobes.  Both lobes for cylinder #4 of my 2.3 died this way.

Yeah, I have one with the same wiped lobes for the same reason.
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Offline amc49

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Re: 78' Pinto 2.3 Timing issues
« Reply #7 on: May 31, 2014, 03:26:50 AM »
Why you take them apart as soon as you start it and it's making noise. I do it before ever starting a new engine. The lifters simply snap apart. DON'T mix up the guts, they are matched. After cleaned in acetone I then throw them in oil and attempt to pump them full enough by hand to get the oil purge action going, then compress them down FULLY with a C-clamp and reinstall, they pump up in like 60 seconds or less. In fact, just throwing them in can make the lobe wipe dry to tear up, stuck, they wipe the lobe dry if too tall and then it destroys. If I choose not to disassemble them I always at least bleed them down with the C-clamp action to make sure they are too short so that they have to add more oil to get right. Too tall is what kills the lobe by wiping it dry. If too short and rattles don't go away then find out which one and work on it or replace. If allowed to go in motor too tall they will NOT adjust back down lower before doing damage, YOU must do it. They easily expand but not contract. They can contract but over long periods of time sitting, motor running does not allow that since they are always trying to pump back up then.

When lifter is dead you can tell by the bleed down with C-clamp, no resistance there, or no give. Other than that if the ball end is not scarred up I'll use 'em again. Sometimes I dress it a bit with 400 sandpaper and check the rotation on the matching follower.

The only thing that can stick is the ball check and easy enough to check that when lifter apart. I've never wiped a lobe on these and using same cam as well in multiple motors. That cam now has like 200K+ miles on it. One day I need to get a new one LOL.

You MUST adhere to that collapsed lifter measurement Ford calls for, many mechanics around here paid no attention to that and flat brand new cams all over the place after valve jobs, the engines were cursed most said. Valve job raises valve in head and then lifter holds it open and dead lobe in minutes. Many mechanics around here refused to work on them.